McCartney asks BBC to step up GAA game

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed news that RTÉ and eir Sport will both broadcast National League and club championship matches over the next three years.

Saturday, 26th January 2019, 8:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 6:43 pm

The Foyle MLA said: “This is a significant investment and timely given the large boost in participation in GAA over recent years, particularly in the north.”

However, he said the stepped up coverage highlighted what he described as the BBC’s “neglect of the largest spectator and participatory sport in the north”.

“Clearly the needs of the GAA community - who are also BBC licence payers - are not as important as those who wish to watch soccer, motorsports, rugby, American football, snooker or darts,” said Mr. McCartney.

“We will be seeking an urgent meeting with the Director General of BBC and would encourage others to make their viewers known by contacting [email protected],” he added.

In response to Mr. McCartney’s criticism a BBC spokesperson said: “Discussions about our GAA coverage are ongoing with relevant stakeholders. We understand its importance to local audiences and we remain committed to maximising the range, impact and volume of BBC programming in this area across our different platforms.

“Sport rights are highly competitive and complex. And each situation is different. The coverage rights that we are able to secure can depend on a number of factors, including funding constraints, partnership agreements with other broadcasters and the rights that are actually available.

“Value for money is a fundamental consideration in all of this, taking account of our responsibility to provide a broad mix of output.”